The demand planning process involves gathering and analyzing information from several areas of a firm’s operations in order to forecast production needs. This information is used to determine the optimal inventory levels required to meet sales orders. Accurate demand forecasting helps manufacturers optimize their production processes and minimize costs associated with over- or under-stocking parts and materials. Reliable demand planning reduces the risk of stockouts by ensuring that sufficient inventory is available to always meet demand.

Processes and departments working together

Successful demand planning involves the combination of several key processes. These include demand forecasting, inventory management, demand sensing, demand optimization, and demand fulfillment. Each of these aspects must be managed effectively to ensure that the parts and materials needed by the shop floor are accurately forecasted and inventory is maintained at the optimal level.

Typically, the demand planning process is managed by both the inventory department and the purchasing department. Inventory management must ensure that there is sufficient stock available to meet current production needs, while purchasing ensures orders are placed in time for delivery of new stock when needed and at prices that keep the firm competitive. Both departments must work together with the production and sales departments to plan for fluctuations in demand, including demand changes for product variations or sudden issues from unforeseen events. This involves a high degree of integration between all departments.

Getting the right management tools for the job

All the processes that make up demand planning operations can become quite complex to manage, especially through spreadsheets. Considering multiple departments within a manufacturing firm participate in the process, it becomes apparent that specialized software is almost a necessity to effectively manage the integration and data needed for demand planning. Highly competitive firms typically rely on PLM or MRP software like Aligni to easily manage product data, vendor relationships and delivery timelines. This software effectively becomes the single source of truth for the engineering and production groups of the organization.

Overall, effective demand planning can help manufacturers improve their efficiency and throughput by making sure they have the right part in the right place at the right time. With effective demand planning processes in place, manufacturers can reduce costs and meet deadlines while increasing manufacturing efficiency.

Take the next step

Looking to get a better handle on connecting production needs with inventory quantities and orders? Time to give Aligni a try. Sign up now and learn how our advanced demand planning features can streamline your operations!

Free 30 day

Drone avatar

Aligni Incorporated

13500 SW 72nd Ave, STE 100
Portland, OR 97223